longbow repair/alteration

Falco88

New member
When I said I'm new I meant to the forum not to archery.......I'm fully aware of which end is which and what grove does what. This is my second longbow hence I understand the quality isn't great (it was intended as a project I have seen the bowyers previous bows) hence my orginal question all I would like is some advice/steps to take when shorterning bows, do's and don't etc.
 

Falco88

New member
Just looked at my old post, when I said to stringer groves I meant it has a stringer grove on both top and bottom nock. That picture is the bottom nock.
 

WillS

New member
When I said I'm new I meant to the forum not to archery.......I'm fully aware of which end is which and what grove does what. This is my second longbow hence I understand the quality isn't great (it was intended as a project I have seen the bowyers previous bows) hence my orginal question all I would like is some advice/steps to take when shorterning bows, do's and don't etc.
Fair enough. Don't shorten the bow. How's that? ;)

Seriously though, there is just no need. Get a decent string, the right length and chances are everything will be sorted. Shortening a bow just because you can't string it is madness!


Still, here's what I'd do if I wanted to shorten a bow with horn nocks.


First you'd have to remove the nocks. This can be tricky depending on what they've been glued on with. If glued on with epoxy you could heat gently until they give, but risk damanging both the nock and the wood. If glued on with superglue, heat might work but it tends to penetrate the fibres of both horn and wood incredibly well so you may have to destroy the horn nocks completely to get them off.


You then have to work out how short you want to make it - not sure you can get that from here, because the reason you're shortening the bow doesn't make sense so it would be really tricky to give you lengths/dimensions etc which would solve the issue. Once the length is sorted out, you need to cut temporary nocks so that you can re-tiller. You may think it's uneccesary but trust me, it's not worth the risk otherwise. You'd be surprised just how much a tiller can change with a few inches here and there. If you've not done any tillering before, that's a whole other kettle of fish. Of course you'd need to build a tiller, complete with pulley and winch and scales etc etc before you could start.

I guess you could get away with using a simple tillering tree (a solid length of timber with a support for the bow and notches at inch intervals all the way down the vertical length of timber that you use to check the bend. It's certainly not ideal and can cause uneccessary set/string follow as compared to using a proper tiller)


Once the tillering is done (probably just minor touch ups, with some scraping/sanding if you're lucky) you have to fit the nocks again. If you got them off in one piece you're fine, but you need to re-shape the bow tips to fit the nocks. Very awkward if you haven't made the horn nocks yourself, as you have no way of knowing what profile the bowyer used to cut the hole. Would probably just be trial and error with a lot of very careful rasping and sanding and checking until the horn fits again. They would have to be glued back on of course, and then you'd be done.

If you weren't so lucky and the nocks were too damaged when you removed them, you'd have to make new ones. This means buying a couple of pieces of buffalo horn or cow horn, cutting them to the right length, drilling a tapered hole the right length and right width down into the horn, gluing the horn onto the matched bow limb tips and then shaping the horn. This is usually done with rasps, files and sandpaper, or even better a belt sander/linisher. It then needs to be polished nicely, and the string grooves cut just as Del said - soft edges, with plenty of room for the brace height and full draw angle to be accomodated for.


Although, once all that is sorted (and that was the quick and optimistic version ;) ) you will probably still have the same issue, because bow length doesn't cause stringing issues. If a 7ft bow can be strung, so can anything shorter! It's just a matter of getting the right string, the right brace height and the right tension. Del's blog has a superb description of this that he posted very recently - well worth reading through it to help out in this situation!

Bowyer's Diary: Yew Stick Bow and Draw Weight to Brace a Bow.

Hope some of that helps - it is by no means a small job, and it's crazy how easy it is to ruin a bow's tiller or damage the tips too much that they can't withstand the strain of bracing/stringing/shooting.

If you bought the bow with changes/work in mind then that's cool, crack on and of course best of luck (post pics/comments if you need any help of course) but if you're unsure and really want the bow to be a working, shooting longbow then I would recommend leaving it completely alone.

If anything, smooth the nocks out, polish and sand the areas that the string will rest against to minimise any potential damage, but more importantly get the right string for the bow.


I'd be quite surprised if your problem was being caused by anything else!
 

Del the Cat

Well-known member
quote " all I would like is some advice/steps to take when shorterning bows,"
I think you made the classic mistake of confusing your question with irrelevant information about stringing....
Had you simply said.
"I bought a bow as a project, to shorten and re-tiller it"
You wouldn't have wasted a lot of peoples time and effort.
I hereby retract my offer to fix it and make a string as it is obviously neither required nor appreciated.
Del :( (unsubscribes from thread)
 

Falco88

New member
I don't believe there was any irrelevant information if u read the first post, the stringing of the bow was/is a genuine problem as I would like to check the tiller etc. Before starting to work on the bow, I then asked for advice on how to go about shortening bow as I have no experience with horn nocks or shortening a bow. Thanks WillS for the advice that's cleared a lot of things up
 

Fruntkin

New member
Does one end of your string have a bowyers hitch on it? If so, is it slipping when you brace the bow? This happened to me a few times until I figured out how to tie the knot properly.....
 

Falco88

New member
Thanks for your reply, the original string did but i tried various other string types with the same result.
 
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